The largest winner’s paycheque in tennis history is up for grabs at this year’s US Open after the tournament became the first to put up a prize money fund worth more than $50m.
Winners of the men’s and women’s singles titles in Flushing Meadows will pocket $3.7m — nearly $1m more than the top prize at any other grand slam this year.
Single’s pay-outs have increased by 7.5 per cent from last year, when champions Stan Wawrinka and Angelique Kerber both received $3.5m.
The overall purse has been boosted by nine per cent — around $4m — to $50.4m.
A number of familiar names will be missing from the US Open schedule when it starts on Monday, following a spate of injuries amongst top-ranked players.
Former winners Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka have all been ruled out from competing in New York, as has 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori.
That leaves world No1 Rafael Nadal and No3 Roger Federer — both of whom are enjoying an indian summer in their careers having recaptured some of their best form this season — as favourites to win a prize that would financially outshine any of their previous triumphs.
Federer rolled back the years at this year’s Australian Open and Wimbledon, winning his 18th and 19th grand slam title after five years without one.
Meanwhile Nadal triumphed at the French Open and finished runner-up to his old rival at the Australian Open.
Yet the absence of many of the most reliable performers in the men’s game could also open the door for an emerging group of young talents including 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, world No8 Dominic Thiem and American teenager Frances Tiafoe to significantly boost their earnings.
Thanks to the US Tennis Association’s prize fund top up even finishing as runner-up will be worth $1.83m — over $400,000 more than Federer received when he last won the tournament in 2008.
How does it compare to other grand slams?
In contrast to a potential prize of $3.7m at the US Open, Federer received around $2.8m for each of his titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The French Open is even further behind. Nadal’s €2.1m prize at the time worth around $2.3m in greenback.